O granola, how I love thee! Such sweet, oaty, crack-like goodness, cunningly marketed as a health food.
I've wanted to make my own for years but was put off by the oil and sugar found in most recipes. I don't mind a bit of oil or sugar but The Mothership raised me to believe those things have no place on the everyday breakfast table. Coco Pops were more evil than Stalin in our household.
I've obediently stuck to unsweetened muesli or porridge as an adult, but I'm haunted by the memory of a Marks & Spencer number called Seriously Nutty Crunch. I bought it just the once in 2003 when I first moved to Scotland and finally understood folks who ate cereal straight from the box. Phwoar. Nutritionally speaking it was basically crushed up cookies, but ever since I've longed for CRUNCH in the morning.
Last year I bookmarked Orangette's acclaimed adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe, but it had quite a bit of honey and brown rice syrup so I knew I'd go Seriously Nutty if I made it. I also found a few apple juice-sweetened recipes but they still contained a fair whack of oil or butter.
Then recently in one of those random blog excursions, I was staring at a photo of a cupcake then clicked a link then another then another and landed on a blog called Delicious By Nature where there was a granola with no oil, just one tablespoon of maple syrup and a blasted-up banana as the main sweetener.
It sounded too weird to possibly work, but work it did! It was proper crunchy like the Seriously Nutty stuff, but with a mild sweetness that falls into my personal definition of a genuinely healthy breakfast. No bullshit calories here. I was worried it would taste too banana-y but the flavour is subtle.
You could go as poncy as you like with the ingredients but the basic version contains ordinary things I already had in the cupboard: oats, seeds and/or nuts of your choice (I used sunflower and walnuts), cinnamon, vanilla extract, maple syrup (I subbed honey), a pinch of salt (optional) and a trusty banana!
All you do is whizz the 'nana into oblivion along with some water, the cinnamon and the dod of honey, resulting in an unsightly brown goo.
Stir that into the dry ingredients, spread it out on a baking tray then bake for about 40 minutes, stirring regularly.
The original recipe said put it on a foil lined tray which gave me soggy granola welded to foil.
I hacked it off into a non-stick roasting tin then fluffed it up, returned it to the oven and it turned out beautifully.
Serves: about 6
Source: Delicious By Nature
200g (2 cups) rolled oats
(I used jumbo oats. You might need more if your banana is huuuuge and the mixture looks too wet)
1 ripe or frozen banana
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
30g (1/4 cup) walnuts, chopped
30g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F.
- In a blender or wee food processor, zap together the banana, water, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and sea salt until smooth.
- In a large bowl, toss the banana goo with the dry ingredients.
- Lay out the mixture in a single layer on a baking tray, either non-stick or lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 40 minutes until oats are starting to brown. Check every ten minutes and give it a good stir, breaking up any big clumps. Don't panic if it looks really soggy to start with, it does crisp up eventually!
- Remove from the oven or let cool inside the switched-off oven if your oven is rubbish like mine.
- Crunch away with milk or yogurt n fruit. Huzzah!
I don't know how long this would last, considering it contains a fresh banana and all. This batch lasted less than a day in our house as Dr G was particularly enthusiastic. I can't wait to try again with different nuts or seeds. Maybe a shake of nutmeg too. You could add dried fruit of course but I like my granola fairly plain. I reckon pecans would be brilliant but they can be pricey… walnuts are a good value nut.
(I don't eat breakfast on the grass; it's just impossible to get decent natural light inside our house of an afternoon now that summer is dead and gone. Sniff sniff.)
For those who were asking about the calorie content, click here. This is based on 6 servings. Personally I would get 8+ servings out of it, but a lot got stuck on the foil! It also depends on the way you use granola. You'd get less serves if you like a bowlful with milk, but I use it more as a condiment on top of my fruit and yogurt, so it goes further.